Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Only Thing He'll Remember About 4th Grade...

Today, one of my public school fourth grade students came back from lunch with the whole back of his orange shorts soaking wet. He had slipped in mud on the field, and - after going to the nurse to see if she had extra pants, which she didn't - tried to wash off the mud. I told him he could put on my Alice in Wonderland blue caterpillar costume and hang his shorts outside to dry. So he was dressed as a blue caterpillar the rest of the afternoon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Kindergarten Week 5

For piano, in addition to all the songs she's been working on, Gemma learned "Mumbo Jumbo." She can play "Indian Song" from memory, and sings along at the top of her lungs.

Months ago, when she started Level B, I bought the ear training and theory books that go with Alfred Prep Level B, but we haven't been doing them. (When we started Level A, I also bought the flash cards. We're also not using those.) I feel like she's learning so much just by playing daily. When she finishes Level B, I don't think I'll buy the ear training or theory books for Level C. I also think I'll forgo the Solo book, and just get Sacred Solos. (I love the Sacred Solos book for Level B. I'm so glad to have come across it.)

My plan - right now ;) - for Alfred Prep Level C is to get the Lesson Book, Sacred Solos, and Christmas Songs.
Co-op was about boats. The host mom illustrated her own picture book about a sailing trip her family took to Catalina. She drew pictures of tugboats, cargo ships, sherriff's boats, etc. All of us moms were wowed. (I'm so happy to be part of a group of such creative and talented women.) Then the kids played Sink or Float, built cork boats, and ran around like wild things.
Gemma drew this picture at Classical Conversations this week. (The rest of the picture has mountains; the objective, I think, was to draw a person in the foreground and mountains in the background, to show that the person is close and the mountains are far away.) My husband and I had a good chuckle about it. Gemma can read at a 4th grade level, and multiply a 2-digit by a 1-digit number, but she would fail the kindergarten-readiness "Draw-A-Person" test. I have no idea why she continues to draw her people with only two fingers on each hand. They all kind of look like drummers holding drumsticks.

Church Mice started up again. The lesson was about Baby Moses.

She went to dance class.
At swim, she continued working on side breathing.
She did one Duolingo Spanish lesson.

We read some more of Little House on the Prairie. This is Gemma pretending to be Ma driving the covered wagon.
Here are Pet and Patty...
Pet is a stuffed frog wearing Gemma's unicorn helmet. Patty is an air purifier wearing Gemma's My Little Pony hoodie. She used a jump rope as the reins.

Here is one of her children inside the covered wagon...
We also read more Prince Caspian, Life of Fred: Honey, and Training Hearts.

Finally, Gemma's bean plants (that she grew from seeds she harvested from a parent plant) sprouted, and she planted them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Kindergarten Week 4

We released Gemma's painted lady butterflies. We kept them for five days, and let them go on the morning of the sixth, before I left for work. If only I could start every day this way. Look at that face.
On Sunday, Gemma sang as part of a trio in church.

That afternoon, she got to go to a birthday party at a place called Adventureplex.

We finished Life of Fred: Goldfish, and started Life of Fred: Honey. Gemma had a meltdown because Fred's pet goldfish died and he threw it in the trash. I told her that yes, it was sad, and that I could stop reading, but she didn't want me to stop, so we kept going.

We started reading Little House on the Prairie, and read a little more of Prince Caspian and Training Hearts.

Gemma was attacked by a giant ant.
Classical Conversations started up again on Monday.

She did one Duolingo Spanish lesson.

She worked on "Indian Song" on piano.

She made a rubber band helicopter with our co-op.
There was dance.
There was swimming. She worked on her dolphin kick, and something called monkey soldier something-or-other. It was a backstroke kick.
Our friend Patrick McGilligan (who knew Gemma before she was born) was painting the windows of our neighborhood video store, Vidiots. He let Gemma paint some stars...
...and help paint a robot...
...and paint a sun.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Kindergarten Week 3

We finished Little House in the Big Woods:

..."What are the days of auld lang syne, Pa?"

"They are the days of a long time ago, Laura," Pa said. "Go to sleep, now."

But Laura lay awake a little while, listening to Pa's fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the Big Woods. She looked at Pa sitting on the bench by the hearth, the firelight gleaming on his brown hair and beard and glistening on the honey-brown fiddle. She looked at Ma, gently rocking and knitting.

She thought to herself, "This is now."

...They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.

It's a must-read for children, and a must-read-again for adults.

Our Little House reading led to us watching a couple of YouTube videos about threshing wheat. That led to us watching a two-part video of a man who grows his own wheat, threshes it, grinds it, and bakes it into bread. Gemma also asked how cloth is made, and watched a video about that, too.

We also read Life of Fred: GoldfishPrince Caspian, and Training Hearts.

Gemma re-read Life of Fred: Apples...
...and some Winnie the Pooh...
Foreign Language: 
She did two Duolingo Spanish lessons.

It was my week to host co-op. What started out as a home(pre)school co-op has transitioned into a co-op of preschoolers, TKers, and kindergarteners.

The theme this month is Transportation, so I wanted to do something to introduce the topic.

I started by reading the kids Ox-Cart Man, for two reasons. The first reason is that I love it. The second reason is that I wanted to ask the kids why the man needed the cart in the beginning, and why he didn't need it on his way home. This is the reason for transportation. We use transportation to carry things (including passengers) from one place to another place.

Then, I gave each child a ziploc baggie of  images (a dugout canoe, a chariot, a steamship, a space shuttle, etc.), and we categorized. I started by asking the kids to find all of the things that had wheels. (Gemma surprised me by saying, "Well, airplanes have little wheels." I'm not sure how she knew that, considering she was the only kid in the group to have never flown on a plane.) Then I asked them which things could fly. (Gemma said that the ship could fly if it were sprinkled with pixie dust. We all agreed. One little girl said the horse drawn carriage could fly if a pegasus were pulling it. We all agreed with that, too.)

Next, I talked them through taping the images in order. (Figuring out how to use tape is a skill in itself.)

Here is Gemma's finished timeline:
She learned "Rockin' Tune" (which introduces flats), and also "Marching Song."

Nature Study:
Gemma's butterflies emerged from their chrysalids. All five survived!

We enjoyed watching this video of a caterpillar pupating:
What else?
She danced, she swam, she practiced her song for Cerub Choir.

Mother Culture:
I've been watching Hollow Crown: Wars of the Roses, Shakespeare's Henry VI parts 1 and 2, and Richard III. It's very bloody, but excellent.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Napping House

I came home today to find a unicorn napping in my bed...well, in a bed in my bed. 

I was told that it didn't want to be disturbed.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Kindergarten Week 2

Here are some things we did this week, and some Gemma-quotes I don't want to forget...

"Mom, race you to the dandelions!"
"I think big bobby pins are what the Eiffel Tower is made of."
Some of the books I read aloud to Gemma this week: Brambly Hedge (the story about Wilfred's birthday), Harold and the Purple Crayon, more Prince Caspian, and more Little House in the Big Woods.

This is a typical scene in our house...
Gemma reading a library book (Aliki's Manners, which I checked out along with Manners Mash-Up, and - unbeknownst to her - tucked into her bag), lying on the the bed next to her bag of library books, an open Life of Fred (one we read a few months ago, but she wanted to reread on her own), a couple of her own books (a chapter book she read over the summer, and The Great Kapok Tree), a napping unicorn, and the game Guess Who, which she was playing with an imaginary friend.

She learned the rest of the U.S. Presidents song.

Math: We're more than halfway through Life of Fred: Goldfish. Because she knows how to skip count, multiplication makes sense to her, the idea of 3 fives being 15, etc. Right now, she's working on multiplying 2-digit numbers by 1-digit numbers (example: 23 x 6).

Piano: This week's song is "Make Time For Music." It has two sharps!

Bible: The WSC question we're currently working on, using Training Hearts, is #7.

Gemma has been practicing the song she's singing with the Cherub Choir at church.

The fall semester of ballet/tap class started.
Foreign Language: We did one Duolingo Spanish lesson. (I had hoped to do two or three, but I'm happy we did one.)

We went to the Getty with my friend Lynn to see the Cave Temples of Dunhuang exhibit. Here is Gemma looking at a giant map. We located the Mediterranean Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Yellow River, the Great Wall of China, Japan, Korea, etc.
Of course, Gemma's favorite parts of the trip were playing in the family fun room, rolling down a grassy hill, and running through the flower garden.
Finally, our caterpillars that arrived Monday have all made it to the top of their lid and are pupating. The last caterpillar to attach itself to the lid dislodged one of its siblings, and the sibling is now suspended mid-cup, in silk that must be removed when the chrysalids are transferred to the butterfly habitat. I'm concerned that that rambunctious caterpillar's actions will result in only four of the five caterpillars successfully reaching adulthood. But we'll see.